Louis Smith MBE is well versed in taking to the stage at the highest level. So swapping one for another actually seems to be a logical switch. His recently announced retirement from gymnastics isn’t a case of ‘Rip it Up’, though that’s the musical he’s now co-starring in. So, it’s actually a case of from the high end to the west end for this pommel expert now set to enter the world of show-business.
Olympic Four Timer
Louis is a four-time Olympic medallist, carrying history on his shoulders having won Britain’s first medal on the pommel horse in 100 years in Beijing 2008. It was probably the most valuable Olympic bronze ever. It didn’t stop there of course, as he went on to win an individual silver and a team bronze at the London 2012 Olympics.
As yet another games arrived in Rio, Louis rose to the occasion with another silver on the pommel. By then he’d forged a reputation as one of the finest ever pommel horse workers. As a result, his achievements created a massive impact on the development of men’s gymnastics across the UK. A huge inspiration to the next generation of athletes, this Peterborough born artistic gymnast leaves a fantastic legacy.
His gymnastics experience is a unique nationwide gymnastics course for both girls and boys aged five to 12 years of age. It’s been custom designed to deliver all appropriate gymnastics disciplines for those just starting out, or for individuals who want to develop existing skills further. Those on the course are very likely to get a visit from the man himself.
Love of Gymnastics
Speaking after he’d announced his retirement on ‘Lorraine’, Louis said: “Gymnastics has given me everything. It gave me the tools necessary to channel my ADHD throughout my childhood, and as I grew up through the sport, I quickly found a purpose in life, and it has made me the person I am today.
“From a young age it became my dream to compete at an Olympic Games and represent Great Britain, so to have had the opportunity to do that on three separate occasions, and bring home four Olympic medals in the process, is something I will forever cherish and for which I am eternally grateful.”
Sport to Show-Business
Smith, who also won three World Championship medals, was the winner of the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing programme in 2012 alongside partner Flavia Cacace. There’s little doubt this is where the show-business bug really took shape, though he’d had previous ambitions as a singer auditioning for the X Factor in 2008.
Louis went on to take part in the 2014 Strictly Christmas special with guest professional, Aliona Vilani. He also performed in a live dance show called ‘Rip It Up’, starring McFly’s drummer Harry Jud, and JLS’ Aston Merrygold. If that wasn’t enough to impress, how about appearing on The Jump, only losing out to Made in Chelsea’s Spencer Matthews in the final? Not bad for a lad who was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), at the age of six.
It’s clear from this the 29-year-old has a range of talents at his disposal, meaning the future looks very bright indeed away from the sport of gymnastics.
A Special Find
“I first met Louis when he was around seven years old. His mum couldn’t decide whether to send him on a choral scholarship or to go with gymnastics.” said British Gymnastics Men’s Head National Coach and Louis’ former personal coach, Paul Hall. “Seven years later, Peterborough Cathedral may have missed a boy soprano, but GB had a Junior European Champion on Pommel Horse.”
Recognised by Britain
Celebrated for services to gymnastics he was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire in the 2013 New Year’s Honours list. His legacy is a reminder of just what can be achieved both in and through this wonderful sport. And the message from Louis is anyone from any background can succeed given the will and determination.
Speaking further about Louis, Paul Hall said, “his contribution deserves to be recognized. Four Commonwealth medals, seven European medals, five world medals, four Olympic medals, and one Glitterball. Great job Louis!”
The Stage Is Set
Despite Louis Smith swapping one stage for another, it certainly seems that he has a lot to offer. We can’t wait to see what he does next.
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